Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Company Head Wants Maine to Let Teachers Be Teachers, Not to Be Servants to the Common Core Standards

(New Gloucester, ME – Mon., Oct. 27, 2014) – The head of a Maine marketing communications company says he wants Maine to be different from other states with respect to the Common Core public education standards. David Sawicki, Founder/CEO of event sponsor Voice Teleservices, gave opening remarks at this past Saturday’s “New England Fall-Out from Common Core” informational event to address the problems of Common Core by No Common Core Maine and Cornerstone Action of New Hampshire. The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) is the effort that created and is attempting to impose on states a set of national K-12 standards (“Common Core”). Maine was the 42nd state to approve the Common Core State Standards in 2011. Held at the American Legion in York, the event drew over 100 people which included national education speakers who spoke about other state’s experiences with Common Core, the problems with the standards, and other related issues.

Sawicki explains why he opposes Common Core as an employer: “If Maine schools and the entire country go down a road that produces students who have lesser communication skills and underdeveloped critical thinking skills, then a company like mine will be hard pressed to compete with the low cost producers. We compete on quality, productivity and creativity - not cost minimization. We need high quality, well educated people. Common Core will not deliver those candidates to me. It will do just the opposite and damage an entire generation of kids who will be intellectually handicapped for the rest of their lives.”

Co-Founder of No Common Core Maine, Heidi Sampson, said “One of No Common Core Maine’s initial goals was to get the public educated and begin the discussion on this educational reform that has swept into our state in a rather stealth-like manner.” She said the movement is gaining momentum as more and more parents and grandparents realize what is happening in their local schools. “They are rapidly discovering this will not lead us in an upward trajectory, but rather just the opposite.” Meanwhile, proponents of Common Core believe the standards they have developed, outside of any local school participation, are what is needed to improve education. However, both Sawicki and Sampson say the Maine legislature could pass a law ignoring the Common Core standards and rely on standards defined by the State of Maine and each local school board. Or, citizens could go the referendum route.

Sampson said the Common Core’s assessment tests aim to build a profile of a student and their family and that there are privacy concerns, adding that many questions on the tests have little to do with education but are trying to measure a child’s value system through embedded questions. “If the child does not answer the question the right way, the test will repeat the question in a different way”, and she noted the tests are designed to have a 30% failure rate. Teachers are reporting that some districts will be testing up to 12 weeks a year. The Maine Department of Education just contracted with the American Institute of Research which administers and collects the data from the assessment tests. “If you change the assessment tests and work on the privacy issue, you can nullify Common Core”, she said.

David and his wife made the decision to homeschool their children 7 years ago and says he has discovered the key to learning: “Teachers who love what they do and care about the development of each child in their classroom is the key to success.” Sawicki then recalled his public school education in Oxford Hills and said the teachers who had the greatest impact were the ones who had the most passion for their work and set the highest standards. “They were creative, they were artists. They loved you and wanted you to succeed,” giving examples of teachers who were important to his own personal success. “Teachers like Carol Trebilcock and Hank Burns had very high expectations and they also brought creativity and energy into their classrooms. They challenged us but also made it fun along the way.” In high school, his math teacher Neil Tame personalized his approach to help Sawicki become better at math. David went on to earn an MBA from Boston University where he felt comfortable taking any course level of financial analysis or advanced quantitative statistics. “The core of the business management model I’ve developed and refined over the past 20 years is based on math and statistical analysis. I thank Neil Tame for contributing to my success.”

Contrast this to an environment where the teachers are handed a Common Core script or, worse yet, an iPad, and their job is to watch you follow the script, make sure you complete the script and then you answer a handful of questions on your iPad. Sawicki stated, “If you fail, they re-set the script and you keep trying until you pass. What creative, passionate, artistic professional is going to want to work in that environment?!” Sawicki believes the Common Core mandate in Maine will drive away the best teachers from the profession. “They will find another outlet for their creative talents.” However, if Maine chooses to abandon Common Core we can attract the best and brightest teachers by proclaiming: “Teachers, you are free to bring your personal creativity into our schools! Maine’s doors are open to the best and brightest teachers in the nation.  Leave your Common Core dungeon and move to Maine!”


For more information, see www.commoncoremaine.com.


Distributed by:  Mary E. Regan, Publicist, (207) 420-1393 – meregan4@gmail.com